Charley Patton

Charlie Patton, better known as Charley Patton, was an American Delta blues singer, guitarist and songwriter. He is widely regarded as the "Father of the Delta Blues" and has been a major influence on countless Delta blues musicians. Born in April 1891 in Hinds County, Mississippi near the town of Edwards, Patton's parentage and race have been subjects of speculation. Although considered African-American due to his light complexion, it is now believed that he had mixed heritage with white, black, and Native ancestors.

Patton honed his musical style while living on Dockery Plantation in Ruleville, Mississippi. Influenced by Henry Sloan's unique playing style which is now recognized as an early form of the blues, Patton began performing at Dockery and nearby plantations. He also mentored younger performers such as Willie Brown, Tommy Johnson, Robert Johnson, and Howlin' Wolf who lived in the area.

Patton gained popularity for his showmanship on stage - playing guitar behind his head or back or even with the guitar down on his knees. He died on April 28th 1934 on the Heathman-Dedham plantation near Indianola due to a mitral valve disorder. His death went unreported in newspapers but a memorial headstone was later erected on his grave through musician John Fogerty's contribution to the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund.


Charley Patton
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